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Virtual Seattle Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival Offers Music, Creation, Culture and Online Fun!

Cherry Blossoms

Seattle Center Festál: Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival, 11 a.m.-3 p.m., April 9-11, is presented virtually this year on their website. The annual festival seeks to deepen understanding and highlight the cultural contributions and achievements of Japan and Japanese Americans. The festival includes online performances and martial arts, exhibits and demonstrations, documentaries and Japanese culinary demonstrations.

Started as a small ceremony in 1976, the festival today is the largest and oldest of its kind in the Pacific Northwest. Hanami, or cherry blossom viewing, is a reminder to celebrate life. The festival theme in 2021, Regional Japan Expo—Soul of Artisans speaks to the culture’s ancient and exquisite artistic tradition.

The festival opens Friday with a focus on ceremony and legacy. It starts with interviews and greetings by festival advisory organizations and local dignitaries. The day also features a look back at Seattle Cherry Blossom Festivals over the past 45 years, a traditional tea ceremony and an Ikebana demonstrations and exhibit. Seattle Kokon Taiko will perform, noted instructors will demonstrate Japanese calligraphy and two NHK World-Japan documentaries, A Vanished Dream Wartime Story of my Japanese Grandfather and 10 Years with Hayao Miyazaki, Episodes 1-4 will be shown.

Saturday’s schedule highlights regions of Japan with hiking tours and cultural, musical and culinary offerings from several Japanese prefectures. The day also takes a look at various prefectures of Japan and presents three NHK documentaries, Tokyo Miracle City: Gourmet Capital – Keeping Alive the Spirit of Tsukiji, SAKE R-Evolution: A Fever Brewing across the Globe and SAKE R-Evolution: Heady Milestones in a New Era.

On Sunday, viewers will find Taiko drumming by Northwest Taiko, along with other music and dance performances, children’s book readings by animator and documentary filmmaker Jeff Chiba. The day also offers classic martial arts, Taiko drumming and karate demonstrations; and the owner of Seattle’s oldest sushi restaurant, Maneki, Jean Nakayama, will present a cooking demonstration on how to make a Sakura roll. Virtual festival goers will also learn about the meaning of work, life and happiness through Granny Mochi’s heart-warming tales.

View the program details click here.

Seattle Center Festál highlights the culturally rich communities who help shape the character and course of our region. The series, presented virtually in 2021, provides a forum for cultural groups to come together and share their stories with the greater community. The series began in 1997 to offer a central place for festivals to invite the public to join in their unique cultural expression.

Seattle Center presents Festál: Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival is presented in partnership with Seattle Cherry Blossom & Japanese Cultural Festival Committee. Streaming is free of charge. For more information, visit or call 206-684-7200.

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About Seattle Center Festál:

Seattle Center Festál, Where the World Gathers, presents 24 ethnic cultural festivals on weekends throughout the year, virtually in 2021, to connect people in ways that build understanding, dispel stereotypes and generate pride among the generations who participate in these shared experiences. Seattle Center Festál is produced with the generous support of KUOW 94.9 Public Radio, Coca-Cola, T-Mobile, 4Culture, the City of Seattle and Seattle Center Foundation.